And so, gentle readers, my Beach Boys retrospective comes to and end with chapter 34. I have reviewed all the Beach Boys' studio albums in order plus a few others along the way. I am sure that there will be further chapters concerning the Beach Boys and it is my hope they well be positive. Maybe there will be a reunion album or concert. Hopefully it will not surround a death or more lawsuits.
The Beach Boys remain one of the most beloved groups in American rock and roll history. Many of their songs are now part of the American consciousness.
Recently my grandson had a kindergarten project to find a song to sing along to while performing an accompanying skit. He chose "Surfin' USA." Talk about a chip off the old block.
So what are my five suggestions for essential Beach Boys listening?
1) If you would just like to sample the Beach Boys I would suggest the Endless Summer album. It covers many of their early surf hits and can be found cheaply on Amazon. If you want to dig a little deeper there is always the 1993 box set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys. Right now the easy way out is to just pick up a copy of their 2007 compilation album The Warmth Of The Sun which is still in print and is very good.
2) All Beach Boys collections and sounds run through Pet Sounds. The textures and creativeness of Pet Sounds remain cutting edge over 40 years after its release. Play this album with your headphones firmly in place. It is essential listening.
3) My third recommendation is All Summer Long. I mentioned in my review that it is the Beach Boys album I have played the most times. It is just a joyful album of eternal summer. When I listen to All Summer Long I am 15 years old again and life is simple and I am sure that summer will last forever.
4) I needed a post-'60s album to recommend and I am going with Surf’s Up with apologies to Sunflower. I think Surf’s Up took a few more chances as the Beach Boys were trying to change and adapt to a very different world.
5) Here’s my last suggestion for meeting the Beach Boys as they were meant to be. Go down into the basement or to a garage sale and obtain a record player that plays 45rpm records. Now comes the fun part. Find some Beach Boys 45s and play them on the record player. This was how the music of the Beach Boys originally became popular. Their early single releases were two to three minutes of listening bliss. You have not truly experienced the Beach Boys until you have listened to the original 45s.
I leave the music of the Beach Boys in your hands. They are good company on a cloudy day. Surf’s up.